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They Own The Sun - 77%

Larry6990, March 25th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Independent

Among the harems and hordes of metal bands who hail from the vast metropolis of the Isle Of Eigg, The Massacre Cave have to be in the top 10. At least. Maybe even top 5. They're definitely the one with the most interesting moniker. Named after a legendary Scottish clan war event, it instantly grants the band the benefit of eeriness. Since when has eeriness been a benefit, I hear you ask? When your band sound as off-kilter as this, of course! It's really hard to pin down TMC to one genre, hence the awkward 'progressive thrash/sludge' category. They were labelled as a thrash band in presses I'd seen, but within a few songs of their new LP Godlust I was already thinking of bands like Mastodon that they resembled. Even their vocal approach reminds me of Brent & co. One thing's for certain: you won't hear another album quite like this one in 2020.

TMC lay a great foundation for building an album. Most of the components are there; a powerful production quality, original heavy riffs, interesting clean sections... But it's the way they're compiled that loses my focus. Every track seems to have a higgledy-piggledy structure which makes it difficult to retain any memorability. One thing's for sure: you can't expect to get familiar with this album instantly. It'll take upwards of 5 or more listens before you're shouting along and anticipating those heavy drops. They certainly exist! Godlust has made my eyebrows perk up on several occasions. "From The Mountains" kicks off (and ends) with a gargantuan riff which never fails to get my blood pumping; the 3:22 riff in "Fighting Giants" is chunky with a capital 'chunk' - definitely reminiscent of Mastodon; and the title-track contains a wonderfully bouncy, slightly skewed riff at the 1:05 mark which never fails to entertain me with its irregular rhythms.

I can't fault this LP for its variety. No track has the same tempo or atmosphere as the last. One could argue that this contributes to the previously mentioned 'higgledy-piggledy' vibe but, in truth, no matter how much each track differs, the whole effort is shrouded in a murky mood which is nothing if not consistent. "Fighting Giants" manages to develop some gnarly ideas in its five-and-a-half-minute runtime, then is followed by the short sharp burst of "Red Death" which, despite varying totally in feel and pace, clearly belongs on the same record. Then, of course, there's the chromatic groove of "An Itchy Finger" reminding me of a more extreme version of I Hear Black-era Overkill. Stir in the creepily calming interlude "Godfrey" and we've got one hell of a mixed bag on our hands. I mean, check out that album art: talk about a mixed bag! I didn't know whether to expect Toxik or Mr. Bungle.

So, points for both variety and consistency? Oh, I don't know - this album fucks with my head. I think the bizarre dual vocal approach adds to my alienation. The band's main men, brothers Ben and Joe Cormack, utilize a pseudo-melodic shout mixed with a groan-like roar which, again, takes me back to Mastodon's Leviathan era (if you happen to be reading this, TMC, I heartily apologize for all these comparisons!). Luckily, there are some fantastic high-pitched shrieks that make an appearance here and there, often floating over the top of other vocal lines. This was a really difficult album to write about, but just know that I do actually enjoy it. All my complaints are mainly due to puzzlement which, considering the Scottish metallers' apparent humour, I'm sure is appreciated. I can highly recommend Godlust to anyone looking for something a little out-there and different in their metal for 2020, and The Massacre Cave have become an act for me to keep a watchful, suspicious eye on.